Here's a few personal highlights and observations from the first days of Bele Chere, including videos of Crazy Horse and Colston, Los Amigos Invisibles, Lucero and Kovacs and the Polar Bear.
In the wake of last year's flap over whether organizers thought hip-hop was too risky for Bele Chere, it was nice to see at least a couple of rap groups on the schedule this year.
Local rappers Crazy Horse and Colston got things going on Friday evening with a solid set — the only "risky" behavior involved some questionable dance moves by members of the crowd (I'm pretty sure no one got hurt). Take a look:
Meanwhile, local singer Whitney Moore played a laid back Friday afternoon set on the Biltmore Stage. A highlight came when she brought out one of her young music students for a duet (the 10-year-old(?) could sing).
As the sun set, Los Amigos Invisibles took the Battery Park Stage by storm, entertaining a big crowd with an eclectic mix of funk and Latin rhythms. It was a bit cheesy for my taste, but plenty of folks seemed to be having a great time -- especially the band members. Check it out:
Meanwhile, Lucero tore it up across town at the Biltmore Stage, bringing a taste of Memphis rock to the mountains. A sample:
On Saturday, local rock band, The Critters, played a bombastic set. The mood was a bit subdued, however, by the baking-hot afternoon sun.
The festival's energy picked up as the sun dipped behind the mountains — just in time for an outstanding performance by Kovacs and the Polar Bear. A highlight of the local rock band's set was an epic medley of songs: They played one of their best-known original tunes, “Skeleton Crew,” into U2’s ” “With or Without You” and morphed it in to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” before ending it with another “With or Without You” tease. Watch it here:
By the time I made it to the Dr. Dog show, a huge crowd had already amassed, making it difficult to get decent video or photos. But it was an awesome show. Here's a haiku review:
Soulful screaming, twang,
silly fedoras and shades.
Doggie style? Yes please!
Also, worth noting: Some of the best music I've seen at Bele Chere so far wasn't on the official schedule. Buskers are out in full force, and one of the best groups on the streets has been set up all weekend in front of the Flat Iron, playing a cool mix of ragtime, blues, and jazz. Here's a taste:
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